On March 5, 2018, Deputy Mayor of Paris Christophe Girard spoke with RIT-Kosovo students about the importance of engagement in a democratic public life. Mr. Girard has had a distinguished career that includes terms as Deputy-Mayor for Culture, Mayor of 4th Arrondissement, and Deputy-Mayor for Human Resources, Social Dialogue and Quality of Public Services.
Before his career in public service, he was Deputy General Manager of Yves Saint Laurent for almost twenty years and Director of Strategy at LVMH for fashion and leather goods from 1999 to 2015. As Deputy Mayor for Culture, he initiated the cultural revival in Paris, including popular annual events, such as the Nuit Blanche - https://www.paris.fr/nuitblanche . He has been a prominent advocate for LGBT equality and for “Marriage for All." He has produced films, written several books and regularly contributes to Opinion Internationale, Huffington Post, Le Monde and Liberation.
Deputy Mayor Girard has actively supported Kosovo and is currently working to enhance cultural cooperation between Kosovo and France. He spoke with students about a mandate for public service in a manner that is less for personal gain than in order to enhance the quality of life in the communities where we live. He emphasized that democracy must not be reduced merely to a set of contractual arrangements but must blend self-expression, a sense in which all groups and individuals deserve the dignity of place, and in which individuals can enjoy the capacity for education and growth so that we can all build cooperation locally and globally. He told the students that he feels especially “at home” in Kosovo and that he looked forward to strengthening ties across borders.